City of London Corporation workers to strike

Workers at ‘monstrously wealthy’ City of London Corporation will down tools over pay attack

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More than 250 workers at the City of London Corporation, the local authority for London’s Square Mile financial centre, are to strike over pay, Unite said on Monday (May 22).

The City of London Corporation has imposed a lump sum pay increase for 2022/23 that is on average worth around 5 per cent. With the real rate of inflation (RPI) currently standing at 13.5 per cent, this is a real terms pay cut of 8.5 per cent. The workers also not see their wages rise during 2021/22, after the corporation reneged on the previous pay agreement.

Unite’s members at the corporation are struggling with rocketing living costs and rents in London, one of the most expensive cities on the planet. Workers have reported using foodbanks, with one even sleeping in their car during the working week to keep travel costs down.

Meanwhile, the local authority’s latest financial report shows it had reserves of over £1.2 billion in March 2022.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “The City of London Corporation is monstrously wealthy but believes its already hard up workers should swallow a substantial real terms pay cut.

“The corporation does much to support and advocate for elite bankers earning millions,” she added. “How can it possibly accept that its own staff should be driven to measures like using foodbanks and sleeping in cars just to get by?

“Unite never accepts attacks on our members’ jobs, pay or conditions and the corporation’s workforce will receive Unite’s unflinching support during these strikes.”

The striking workers are employed in a variety of roles including security, police staff, grounds maintenance and administrative functions. Members of the GMB union are also involved in the dispute.

The workers will stage an initial 24-hour strike on Thursday, May 25, severely disrupting the corporation’s key services. More industrial action will be scheduled if the dispute is not resolved.

Unite regional officer Nick West added, “Our members are struggling financially and rightly angry at their employer. The City of London Corporation can clearly afford to pay them a reasonable rise, but it is instead imposing an 8.5 per cent pay cut in real terms. This is on top of it reneging on the previous pay agreement, leaving staff with no pay rises at all through the toughest of times.

“Strike action will cause severe disruption to services, but this dispute is entirely of the corporation’s own making. It needs to get back to the negotiating table and put forward an offer our members can accept.”

By Ryan Fletcher